The team management during this show was important due to the time constraints and the sheer amount of movement by both cast and crew during scene changes. To get into a position for tech week that all departments would feel comfortable with meant that the fit-up had to have time allocated well. A 'Fit-up and Task Management" document was created which allowed for the TSM department to be spread out across different jobs and ensure that nothing was forgotten about.
The initial ground plan provided by the designer was full of lines due to the constantly moving set pieces. The ground plan was converted into a Vectorworks drawing and classes were created for each scene. Classes were then also created for each scene change which included the placement of every set piece. This allowed the production team to allocated wing space and set storage space with ease and precision.
The fit-up for this particular show wasn't too difficult as the entirety of the set were moving trucks - with the exception of the flying counterweight moons, the moon cloth and the counterweighted tracking windows. Due to the set being incomplete for the first week of the fit-up period, this gave the TSM department extra time to get the overhead setup completed. The tracking window system was installed (see further note on design), the overhead cloths were hung, the performer flying system was installed (see Performer Flying page) and the majority of the lighting was installed. The set pieces arrived the week following and we eagerly hung the large steel windows on their track carriers. A simple hoist out on the counterweight bar and a tension of rope from either window from the floor pulled them apart as they flew out - a system that had to be altered and tested many times before it was show ready.
The production team on Peter Pan were fantastic. Each member from every department worked professionally and with a constant positive attitude, which meant that the experience as a whole was so much more enjoyable.
The fore-stage curve installation file can be found here:
Details of this production's performer flying have been added to Performer Flying
Tracking Window System
The design for the tracking window comprised of three pieces. Two halves of the 5m by 3m window and a smaller oval top section. The window was to fly in as a whole piece and then on its exit, would separate as it flew out. The initial plan for this was going to be a counterweight controlled curtain track style design which was built and tested to scale in the scene dock. After deliberation we decided to simplify the idea by using two of our many crew members to simply hold a line from either edge of the track taught as the system flew out on a counterweight bar, this would separate the windows as the bar flew out and would not require extra rigging and further complications. See the initial design and research document below:
The Moon Cloth. A large 7m diameter circular piece of cloth painted to look like a moon. This was to rise from the back of the stage up as if a moon rising. The cloth was then to fly out out sight on the return from 'Neverland'. Initially, the concept seemed simple enough. A cloth has to lift from flat on the ground, up and out of sight. Due to the construction of the cloth (based on that of the rising sun in 'The Lion King' professional production), the cloth looked creased and would not rise smoothly. It was suggested that we roll the moon up on an axle and unravel it from that as previous tests from the scenic art department suggested that this was the best course of action. Two adjustable axle bearings were created using spare fixed castors and some CLS Timber, with the ability to adjust the pressure on the axle itself - the axle being a large 7.5m steel scaffolding pipe.
The Scene Changes
The scene changes on this show were very very busy. In the first change, the stage goes from empty to having two beds, the windows, a dog house and a Christmas tree on stage. The next change (which was the largest) had all of the bedroom scenes come off and every other piece of set, including the 21 moons overhead come on stage. A scene change matrix was created before we got the cast in for the scene change rehearsal. The matrix was devised from the multiple scene change ground plans that were created in lieu of the chaos that we were expecting. The matrix looked like this:
(Jak Coventry) Due to the moving set on the show, the use of wireless DMX kits was required to ensure that there was no cabling in the way.
We used "Wireless Solutions" transmitter to talk to 5 receivers on stage in scenery. Each receiver had an RGB output with RGB LED Tape connected. Each of the 5 boxes was addressed as a standard intelligent fixture and were controllable from the LX desk.
Each box was powered with a 12v 8amp Tracer battery which were very powerfully and never lost charge very quickly.
The picture below shows the LED tape on both the beds and inside the Christmas tree.
Christmas Tree with 48 Lights!!
(Jak Coventry) As part of the design, a Christmas tree made out of cones with 48 working candles was to be made. It also had to chase in stages (top, bottom and middle).
After a lot of thinking about how this could be achieved, the LX team went with the option of making this using small 12v LED lights (0.5w each) wired in 3x parallel circuits, one for the top half, one for the middle and one for the bottom half.
All 3x "+" cables were wired into the "+" terminal on the wireless LED receiver and each of the 3x "-" cables were wired into the "R", "G" and "B" terminals on the wireless LED receiver to get individual control of the sections.
The tree worked really well every show and looked rather good!
Peter Pan was the first show to use the Shure Axient Digital Kit. It had 22 ways of Radio Frequencies which included 20 DPA 4060's used with AD1 packs for cast microphones and 2 re-terminated DPA 4060's with UR1's for the roaming instruments, which were Cello, Guitar, Accordion, Flute, Piccolo, Saxophone and Banjo.
Due to the complexity of scene changes and vast amount of moving set pieces, the majority of the sound equipment was housed below stage level in the pit. This allowed for quick fault finding and it provided a secure location to store equipment throughout the run. One member of the sound team was always present during performances and tech period in the event that something should go wrong. This made it as easy as running two lines of Cat 5E to FOH. Equipment in the pit included;
To combat the loss of low-end frequency in the Athenaeum stalls, one Meyer 600HP Subwoofer was hired from a local company and placed under the fore-stage curve. This fitted to the exact measurements on the height of the forestage and provided even coverage to the stalls which prevented overpowering the circles with the centre cluster. Along with it fitting perfectly under the forestage, it also fits perfectly in the back of a VW Golf.
Peter Pan Qlab stack had over 800 individual elements throughout the whole show which meant in the event of a failure, there needed to be a redundant system in place. For this we used a replica Qlab setup in the pit which had the exact same sound card and Qlab file running. Both the main machine and backup were networked using a static IP and secure passcode within Qlab network. Within the main machine show file, along with every group, there was an OSC network command sent out triggering the cue on the backup machine. In the event of a system failure FOH, Sound No.1 would simply have to navigate to Pop Group 'Qlab Redundant' on the Pro 6, which carried through every scene and unmute the group, where levels had been set beforehand, leading to a fairly seamless transition, giving time for the Sound 1 to troubleshoot FOH machine.
With the amount of performer flying and moving set pieces, the show required a robust communications system. For this we used the in house Tech Pro master station allowing all of the wired comms headsets to simultaneously talk to each other across Ring A and B. We then split a signal out of Ring A, down the GPO patch to the SL wing where we split the signal from two wire to four wire then into a Raycom Basestation which transmitted two ways over a frequency. 12 Motorola GP340 radios were programmed to transmit and receive on this frequency allowing crew members who needed to be able to roam to hear the full show call. The only complication using this was that it was capped at two ways of communication, meaning that not everyone on radios could respond at one time. For roles such as Stage Manager, Technical Stage Manager and Production Electrician, who need to be able to have separate two-way communication at all time, we used 4 ways of BTR-80n Wireless Comms which were taken as a split out of the Raycom unit. All antennas were placed on the SL tormentors allowing full coverage of the stage, dock and stalls.